Human tongue, taste buds for sweet are marked (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This article is very interesting about how food, flavors, genes, and our brains interact even before we are born. Enjoy!!!
A variety of foods made from wheat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There’s a new book out called Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brains’ Silent Killers, written by a neurologist who claims that some carbohydrate foods contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease including most whole grains. These types of books invite criticism from skeptics as to the validity of these claims.
Here are some thoughts:
Not many U.S. educated physicians are thoroughly educated in nutrition science but become “nutrition experts” and write a book that may or may not be supported by the current peer-reviewed research..
Healthy carbohydrate foods are included in many diets that have been studied extensively as to their efficacy in chronic disease prevention (not cures) including heart disease and dementia. These diets include the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension). Both contain ample carbohydrates but do not promote unhealthy carbs such as refined grains or sugary foods.
I tend to prefer the lower carbohydrate diet approach and am not a fan of wheat or sugar, but I do appreciate the health benefits of legumes and whole grains, fruits and vegetables. There is no need to avoid them n our diets unless there are some problems with glucose control, celiac disease, allergies, or gluten insensitivity. These conditions can be addressed by physicians or nutritionists trained in medical nutrition therapy. .
Based on the recent rush of food manufacturers to label their products “gluten-free” (even if there was no gluten to begin with) has made this substance the new pariah of foods. It’s amazing how the food companies scramble to try to make their products seemingly healthier. This is similar to a couple of decades ago when all you saw on food labels was “No Cholesterol” even when there was never any cholesterol in the food initially. Cholesterol is not found in plant products, but I remember seeing a bag of raw potatoes in the supermarket back then claiming NO CHOLESTEROL!. How silly. For a sensible and knowledgeable approach from another physician whose blog I enjoy reading:
Posted in Diet and Disease, Faddism, Food Allergies and Intolerances, Food Supply, General, National Eating Disorder
Tagged Alzheimer's disease, carbohydrate, DASH diet, food, Health, Mediterranean diet, nutrition, Whole grain
Juice (Photo credit: hepp)
At Last – people appear to be getting the messages about healthier food choices. Still many of our food choices continue to consist of sugary carbohydrates – fruit juice, soft drinks, snacks and even yogurt (many contain a lot of sugar) and some cold cereals. But it does appear to be a slight improvement. I would like to know what kinds of vegetables are being consumed.
A lot of the choices are based on cost and convenience and a lot of these foods are often processed, however. But it’s trend in the right direction.
Healthy Berries are Good Food for Health (Photo credit: epSos.de)
We’ve all heard about what to eat for health like fruits, vegetables, etc. etc. But in this study, the research offers some more explicit evidence by measuring a nutritional biomarker instead of merely asking people to recall food intakes. In my opinion, this kind of research is so important to substantiate the advice of why these foods can be healthy and in this case associated with a longer life.
A previous post addresses the role of polyphenols in the diet. Check it out, please.
English: Cheeseburger 20 years ago had 333 calories well a modern cheeseburger contains 590 calories. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A great summary and interactive graph of how the standard American diet (SAD) has changed over the years since 1970.
- Consumption of yogurt, oil, and cheese is up which translates to higher calories (about 23% higher than in 1970)
- This increase in calories is mainly in the form of sugar, fats, and carbs.
- To breakdown this increase further, this means we consume more flour and cheese. Cheese is everywhere (fast foods, pizza, salads).
- Flour is from burritos, pasta, muffins, most snack foods etc. etc.
- So it looks like our carbohydrate intake is still primarily refined carbs, not whole grains even though whole grains are claimed on almost every food label.
- Oils are often hidden in most processed foods (soybean oil, e.g.)
- We eat out more often and are presented with large portions (small plates, please!)
A hatchery on a shrimp farm in South Korea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Almost 15 percent of foods that hit U.S. dinner tables come from outside the country. Imported food products do not receive the same degree of scrutiny as U.S. foods. That includes about half our fruit, 20 percent of our vegetables and 80 percent of our seafood. About 90% of the shrimp comes mainly from Southeast Asia, Ecuador, and Mexico. Multiple ingredients found in processed foods comes from other countries and the label does not reflect these sources.
These foods are technically supposed to meet the same standards as U.S foods, but in reality many do not. For example, shrimp from some Southeast Asian shrimp farms are found to be loaded with toxic antibiotics that are not approved in the U.S.
U.S produced foods are inspected far more than imported foods. Some of the problem lies with the lack of resources, namely money and staff. The FDA is stretched to the maximum in its duties of product protection. We have only about 1 500 food inspectors for imported foods – much too small a number to keep up with the detection of food-borne pathogens or toxic contaminants in the ever-increasing number of imports coming to the U.S.
The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 is supposed help alleviate this problem, but critics say this may not help much. Still more resources are needed than will be available. We may have to rely more on the importing countries to rev up their standards to meet ours which appears at this time to be a daunting task due to the politics and trade practices that now exist with our global food supply.
To read about some problems with Chinese imports:
English: A close up of a fresh raw food dish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What exactly is a raw food diet? It is getting more attention in the mainstream media as a way to limit processed food, lose weight and/or help prevent our common chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer. A raw foods vegan diet consists of unprocessed mostly vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). As with any fad diet, it has some merits and also some drawbacks.
It is not for everyone.
Those with weak digestive systems should be careful. A raw food diet can help people lose weight, but it can also cause digestive problem and may exacerbate the common complaints of irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease.
By eating raw food, you risk not getting enough essential nutrients as our bodies can digest and absorb much less from uncooked food. The elderly may also have some problems with this type of diet in that they often lack enough hydrochloric acid to break down some nutrients that they need.
People with compromised immune systems (cancer patients, e.g) may be at higher risk for food-borne diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria found in many raw foods (milk, fresh produce).
Raw food is also not recommended for those with anemia or osteoporosis, because dietary fiber will bind minerals such as calcium and iron crucial for treating the two conditions.
Another thought: Are the claimed benefits the result of the raw food itself or is it simply eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods in general? “Just sayin! “
For more information:
Posted in Diet and Disease, Faddism, food safety, Food Supply, General, Healthy Foods, National Eating Disorder, Obesity and Weight Loss
Tagged food, Health, raw food diet, Raw foodism, vegetarianism, weight loss
The Human Y Chromosome showing the SRY gene. SRY is a gene which regulates sexual differentiation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Amazing how gender differences affect our eating habits. Do men really hate quiche and do women prefer salads? Very interesting. In my nutrtion classes, the males could not believe that a recommended serving of meat was only 3 ounces (size of a deck of cards). They went more with 16 ounce steaks.
Fruits and vegetables (Photo credit: nutrilover)
Children of all ages have a reluctance to like vegetables which is a major problem for parents as well as the attempt to change the U.S. culture to accept healthier foods. Many researchers believe introducing the concepts of health and nutrition very early in life may be an effective approach. A study from Stanford University published in the journal Psychological Science supports the idea that young preschool children can understand these concepts when even applied to nutrition. They hypothesized that young children have a natural curiosity and want to understand how things work which this may apply also to food .
The researchers created five storybooks for preschool children aged 4 and 5 that emphasized key concepts about food and nutrition. These included the importance of variety, how digestion works, nutrient characteristics and how nutrients aid the body. They read these books to the children during snack time for three months. For a control, they did not read the books to other children during snack time.
Later, the children were asked questions about what they had learned from the books about food and nutrition to assess their grasp of the concepts presented. In the group of children who had the stories read to them, vegetable intake almost doubled during snack time after the intervention. Vegetable intake during snack time remained the same in the control groups.
The authors concluded that explaining to these children that their bodies need different kinds of healthy foods did have a significant impact on their acceptance of vegetables. Whether this approach can help children improve their intake of healthy foods at home or at mealtimes remains to be determined.
The following article is an excellent realistic guide from the trenches on dealing with kids who don’t want to eat vegetables.
Schoolchildren eating hot school lunches made up primarily of food from the surplus commodities program. Taken at a school in Penasco, New Mexico, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
School lunches are back in the news again as school begins again this fall. Schools are attempting to meet the new standards created by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 which include lower fat items, more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and limiting sugar, salt, saturated and trans fats as well as calories. Last year these changes met with resistance from the kids themselves as they rejected the new menu items and restrictions. However, some school districts are trying to meet these guidelines by offering menus with appeal to kids who often have never tried some of the foods. An article a year ago describes some of the ideas that some school districts are trying to improve the health of our kids as well as the menus..
But the trouble still exists. Some districts are planning on dropping out this year and some are considering it in the near future. Many kids are not yet happy with the changes. This appears to be the status a year later.
Who knows at this point whether these changes will last or become successful? It appears to me that the key to acceptance is taste, appeal and education. We cannot just throw these foods at our kids and expect them to automatically accept them. We should also offer education about these healthier foods as well as at earlier ages let the kids participate more in their preparation.